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Inexpensive NYC Summer Date Ideas

Going to a dinner and a movie for a date is so yesterday especially if you are in your twenties/thirties living in the city that never sleeps. Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, we always wondered and daydreamed what our early adult lives would be like living in a glittery, magical city. Would our lives be as glamorous as Serena Van DerWoodsen and Carrie Bradshaw or would we ever find our Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross (clearly we are Rachel and Monica)? Though we both live in small, cramped studio apartments instead of a penthouse at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, the city has just so much to offer both in men and activities to do.

Central Park Boating

A couple of weekends ago, it was a beautiful and lovely Saturday, so we planned a double date at Central Park! The day started off at 10:30am where we four of us met up at Sarabeth's at Central Park South to fill up our stomachs with Eggs Benedict, Lobster rolls, Corned Beef Hash, and Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette. After all, breakfast is the most important of the day and having two HANGRY ladies around is not pleasant. Since Sarabeth's is a pretty close walk to Central Park, we took advantage of the warm temperatures and sunny skies and stopped by The Loeb Boathouse to rent out 2 boats. The boats are $15 each an hour and can fit up to four people, but we decided to hop into separate canoes and spent the next 60 minutes rowing around the grounds of the park and snapping pictures. It's so fun to see everything from a different lens when you're on the water!

See the Sights

It is surprising how many New Yorkers bypass some of the most beautiful views because they are too "touristy" to see. We admit we are guilty of this at times, choosing to explore the next great international destination abroad or in other states when we haven't even visited all the best that the city has to offer (ie. Empire State/Statue of Liberty). That being said, we have been to plenty and definitely recommend the below for a day full of exploring, filling your stomachs (we've included a list of the best eats!), and having interesting conversations.

Ride Jane's Carousel

For those who want to tap into their inner 4-5 year olds, Jane's Carousel is the perfect date place for you! It is actually located in DUMBO (Brooklyn), but since it is only a 15 min ride from downtown Manhattan, we are including it in the list. The best part is that you don't even have to ride on the carousel to soak in some of the most beautiful views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges! We suggest grabbing a couple of sandwiches and a picnic blanket, and having a cute lunch/sunset dinner overlooking the gorgeous bridge skyline.

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across one of the most beautiful bridges in the world is really as romantic as it sounds, and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is absolutely one of our favorite things to do in the summer (ice cream cone in hand). We recommend starting from the Manhattan side and walking into DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and straight to Brooklyn Bridge Park for some gorgeous Manhattan skyline views. Just a few feet away, you can grab some food to reward yourself for the walk. Shake Shack, Juliana's Pizza, and Brooklyn classic, Grimaldi's are all next to each other, so feel free to take your pick because you can't go wrong with any of them! For dessert, grab a cone at at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, right on the pier for a sweet treat for you and your date!

Walk the High Line

For those of you new to the city or unfamiliar with this above-ground city park, you're totally missing out! The High Line is one of our favorite summer hot spots for summer dates since you can stroll for almost a mile and a half admiring the beautiful greenery, enjoying local treats sold by vendors along the way, or admiring the hip, urban vibe and cool architecture of the park given that the park is build on top of a historic freight rail line above the streets of Manhattan's west side.

Eat Your Way Through Smorgasburg

Nothing bonds two people more than a conversation over which particular food stands to try and ranking your top favorites! Smorgasburg is an outdoor food market where over 100 vendors are set up at Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Saturdays) or Prospect Park (Sundays). Though it can get very overwhelming, navigating the crowds and fighting for a place to sit near the waterfront is all part of the experience, so come with an empty stomach and lots of cash! Adjoining the food stands is a flea market which gives you the perfect opportunity to start walking off that major food baby after stuffing your faces full of hot dogs, venetian sandwiches, etc.

Watch a Baseball Game

NYC is home to the Yankees and Mets, so for all those sports loving couples out there, be sure to take the train to the Bronx to support your favorite team! You can purchase tickets for a good deal through the Gametime app. Activities like seeing a game, Broadway show, or movies take some of the pressure of a date since it gives you a topic to talk about and you don't have to worry about those awkward silences. Lets just hope you both support the same team, so no one goes home a sore loser!

Explore Chelsea Market

We found ourselves walking through Chelsea Market over a dozen times this past winter season, since it is the perfect spot to hide from the cold. The funny thing is that when summer hits, everyone still swarms in to escape the heat. Either way, one thing is certain- we all love Chelsea Market! Think of this space as an urban, indoor food market, but dozens of restaurants and food stands that would satisfy any craving. Take your date on a food sampling tour by each picking out something small as you walk from one end to another. Share a pork belly sandwich from Num Pang Sandwich Shop, grab some tacos are Los Tacos No. 1, split an order of fries at Creamline, and end the tour with a sweet treat at L'Arte de Gelato. Talk about a fun way to show off your food personality by picking out items for you and your date to try!

Another cool part about Chelsea Market is the daily market called Artists & Fleas, which is a space where 30 independent collectors and makers showcase art, fashion, design, etc. in a contemporary and hip flea market environment. It's the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir or trinket!

Go on a Museum Crawl

To get your cultural fix, be sure to check out some of the best museums that NYC has to offer! Visiting a museum is a great opportunity to take a break from those Netflix & Chill sessions on the nasty rainy and cold days. We both love exploring the museums and have spent several hours with our beaus admiring paintings/sculptures and letting our inner nerds shine through. A few of our favorite museums are 1) American Museum of Natural History, 2) The Metropolitan Museum of Art and 3) Museum of Modern Art.

The best part is that many museums function on a "pay as you wish" system, so you don't have to shell out a ton for a fun and education day!

End the Night at a Rooftop Bar There is absolutely nothing like spending an evening overlooking New York City no matter what day of the week you may have a date after work. Bond over some classy cocktails at some of our favorite rooftop bars for a conversation with quite the view. Here are some of our personal favorites and suggestions from our close friends and co-workers!

  • Mr. Purple

  • The Roof

  • Bar Sixty Five

  • Bar 54

  • Lovage

What are you favorite date activities? Let us know below :)

Love Always,

Jessica & Melissa

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